South suburban students learn science through 'MythBusters'

August 8, 2012

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Spread out in the basement of the Matteson Public Library in the south suburbs, about 30 kids are building houses out of sugar cubes, straws and popsicle sticks.

The question? Is the tale of the three little pigs real or a myth?

Using a hair dryer and a box fan, interns from the Museum of Science and Industry attempt to “blow the houses down”--unsuccessfully. For these elementary school students, the myth is “busted.”

Bryan Wunar, the director of community initiatives at the museum, says, “science is fun. It’s something that everybody can enjoy. It doesn’t have to be something that is too hard or only for a select few.”

He says that’s especially important these days as science education struggles across the city and the country.

Only about a third of all 8th graders in the country are considered “proficient” in science.

In Illinois, it’s even less.

But Chicago Public School graduate and museum intern Aaron Henry says it’s not just science.

“People lose interest really fast in school,” says Henry, who attended CPS’s Von Steuben High School. “If they don’t have something to go there for, they’re not going to keep going, obviously.”

In CPS, just over half of all students graduate. Even fewer go on to college, like Henry has.

Henry says if he can help spark a young kid’s interest in science, that could trickle into an overall increased interest in education.

“If I can keep kids in school, that’d be amazing,” Henry says.